Folic Acid for Anxiety and Depression

Folic acid deficiency can be caused by diet, physical and/or psychological stress, malabsoprtion of nutrients, chronic diarrhea and excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks. Folic acid deficiency can be attributed also to pregnancy or oral contraceptive use. Some estrogen preparations and anticonvulsants may also cause folic acid deficiency. Insufficient intake of folic acid results into the following psychiatric symptoms, forgetfulness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia and anorexia. Studies suggest that the serum levels of folate in depressed patients are lower compared normal medical patients. It was also shown that depressed patients with low folate levels had a higher chance of getting high depression ratings on the Hamilton Depression Scale compared to depressed patients with normal folate levels. A recent study of the researchers at the University of York and Hull York Medical School which involved 15,315 participants have confirmed the link between depression and low levels of folate.

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Natural sources of folic acid include lettuces, dried beans, peas,spinach, turnip greens, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and other fruits and vegetables. Liver and liver products are very rich in folate .The usual dose of Folic acid is 0.4 to 1 milligrams per day. Too much folic acid intake may mask the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.

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References:

1. Reynolds, E. Preece, J., Baily, J. and Coppen, A. Folate deficiency in depressive illness., BrJ Psychiat, 117:287-92, 1970.
2. Neims, A. and von Borstel, R., Caffeine: metabolism and biochemical mechanisms of action, In: Nutrition and the Brain, vol. 6, Wurtman, R. and Wurtman, J. (eds.), Raven Press, New York, NY, 1983.
3. Krause, M. and Mahan, L., Nutrition and Diet Therapy, WB Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1984.

Last update:  January 16, 2009

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